- Series: MIT Press
- Paperback: 352 pages
- Publisher: The MIT Press; Revised ed. edition (February 26, 1999)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0262611465
- ISBN-13: 978-0262611466
- Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.6 x 9 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 64 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #42,918 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Sources of Power: How People Make Decisions Revised ed. Edition
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Gary Klein studies decision-making in the field, tagging along with firefighters, standing by in intensive-care units, and watching chess masters play lightning-fast "blitz" games to learn how people make choices with time constraints, limited information, and changing goals. From this research, he and his associates have developed a theory of "naturalistic decision-making."
Sources of Power essentially lends the validity of scientific research to techniques that many of us use every day. There's intuition, which is based not on instantaneous insight but on the rapid (perhaps even subconscious) interpretation of perceptual cues. There's mental simulation, a finely honed method of visualization. There's storytelling and metaphor, which enable decision-makers to devise meaningful frameworks and compare their present situations to previous events. Nobody is born with an inherent mastery of these and other techniques, Klein tells us, but we are all born with the capability to develop, through experience, the skill sets experts call upon to make good decisions. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Most studies of decision-making treat humans like rats in a laboratory. But Dr. Klein, a cognitive psychologist, spent a decade watching fire commanders, fighter pilots, paramedics, and others making split-second decisions on the job, and this book is a clear and engaging account of his findings.(The Wall Street Journal)
Sources of Power is without a doubt one of the finest works on decision making. A must for anyone responsible for training command and control personnel.(Hugh E. Wood, Program Chair, Emergency Incident Policy and Analysis, National Fire Academy)
Underscoring his points by citing a wide variety of fascinating incidents uncovered during his research, Gary Klein develops an elaborate and plausible model of the decision making of experienced experts. In the process, he makes a convincing case for the study of decision making in naturalistic settings. This study demonstrates the power of recognition-primed action and provides a convincing critique of the real-world validity of the normative decision making produced in laboratory settings.(Hubert L. Dreyfus, Professor of Philosophy, Emeritus, University of California, Berkeley and Stuart E. Dreyfus, Professor of Engineering Science, Emeritus, University of California)
Demonstrates the necessity of looking beyond economic and statistical models of decision making for an understanding of real-life decisions, particularly job-related decisions and decisions made in emergencies. The examples are excellent, deriving as they do from the authors extensive research with firefighters and the military.(Lee Roy Beach, Ph.D., McClelland Professor of Management and Policy and Professor of Psychology, College of Business and Public Administration, University of Arizona)
After reading Sources of Power by Gary Klein I have a much better understanding of why and how experienced fire fighters make critical life and death decisions on the fire ground. I also have a better understanding of why new officers may have some problems with decision making. With 26 years as a Los Angeles County Fire Fighter, I have held every rank in the Operations Bureau and have commanded many types of incidents including the 1992 civil disturbance, 1993 firestorms, and the 1994 earthquake. This book has given me new insight on what level of performance I should expect from new company officers and how to improve their performance.(Larry C. Miller, Operations Chief Deputy, Los Angeles County Fire Department)
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These sources of power include:
- Intuition depends on the use of experience to recognize key patterns.
- Mental simulation is the ability to imagine people and objects through transformations.
- Spotting leverage points means spotting small changes that can make a big difference.
- Experience can be used to focus attention on key features that novices don't notice.
- Stories bring natural order to unstructured situations and emphasize what is important.
- Metaphors apply familiar experiences to new situations to suggest solutions.
- Communicating intentions in a team helps members "read each other's minds."
- Effective teams evolve a "team mind" with shared knowledge, goals, and identity.
- Rational analysis plays an important role, but can be over applied.
The author spends some time with other theories of decision making, emphasizing both their strengths and the sometimes faulty assumptions they incorporate. He makes good points about the inadequacy of decision bias theories to explain successful, real-world decision processes. Klein describes how artificial intelligence and other computational theories reduce decision making to a search through a well-defined set of alternatives. Most decisions, he argues, are not so well structured.
Klein likes to stay close to his data. The book reflects this in the space given to detailed decision making examples he has used to develop and test his theories. In addition to a traditional Table of Contents and lists of Tables and Figures, there is also a list of fifty-two Examples, allowing readers quick access to these cases. Klein also links his theories back to decision making contexts he expects readers to encounter. Each chapter ends with an Applications section that identifies practical implications for decisions out there in the world.
This is a thought-provoking book, grounded in both applied research and practical experience. It is profitable reading for anyone who strives to make better decisions.
Dr. Klein points out that in times of extreme stress people do not have time to make long, measured decisions. Experienced decision makers tend to see patterns and base decisions very quickly on best fits. When decision makers have a little more time, they tend to run mental simulations of events very quickly just to see if courses of action are feasible.
This was a quick, easy to understand approach to a complex problem area.
The book is easy to read and very engaging. It provides real world examples of how good and bad decision were made and the processes behind these. It shows how people that make decisions under extreme stress and time constraints do so based not only on their experiences but by using other techniques to cope with the situation faced. It demonstrates how intuition and simulation play a key role in effective decision making processes and how important non-linear thinking can be.
If you are at all interested in the process of decision making and how experienced people are able to make good decisions under pressure then this book is for you. If you are looking for a deeper treatment of the concepts and examination of decision making, beyond books like Blink, then this certainly is the book for you. It is probably not a book that you can completely digest in on reading. I believe, like most good reference books, it is something that you need to revisit on a regular basis as your experiences grow. It should then start help you filling in the pieces as to the decision making process.
An excellent read and something that should be added to the shelf of anyone looking to understand and make better decisions.